Last Updated on October 16, 2017 by Michael Brockbank
It’s common for people to come out of the gate strong when it comes to improving fitness and then putter out after a few short months. In some cases, it may even take days. I know I have my ups and downs, and that’s part of achieving better health…knowing how to handle yourself.
The Quest for Better Health
A lot of people have a hard time sustaining a good health and fitness routine. For example, my weight has fluctuated a lot over the past few months because I keep slacking. You can’t assume all will be well if you dive back into a bag of Halloween candy over the weekend.
So, what can we do to keep true to sustaining ourselves and achieve better health? In reality, that depends on your own effort.
1. Morning Reminders
How you conduct yourself first thing in the morning will set the tempo for the rest of the day. If you’re in a negative frame of mind, it’ll be difficult to stay motivated for almost anything. You need to feel like you can conquer the day the moment you sit up in bed.
I usually try to go for a brief half-mile, fast-paced walk to get the blood going first thing in the morning. It’s been instrumental on those days when I am dragging. Getting the heart pumping helps elevate energy, focus the mind and improve the mood.
Of course, you need to be dutiful for something like this to work. Set morning reminders and literally talk yourself into better health. Focus on the all the positive things that can happen through fitness. I try to get myself psyched about breaking personal records.
2. Identify and Understand Your Weaknesses
Knowing yourself is a major contributor to better health. It’s all about understanding who you are, what your capable of and what kind of weaknesses you have. For instance, I know keeping Halloween candy near my desk is dangerous for my calorie intake. If it sits in the kitchen, I am less likely to habitually munch on it.
I know it’s difficult to identify weaknesses with honesty. No one likes to point out their own faults. But knowing your limitations is vital if you want to succeed at better health. It’s not like you have to share those major weaknesses with others. Just be aware of them.
Once you identify your issues, you need to take steps to correct them. Otherwise, the exercise is completely pointless. You need to take action to address your problems. I know having edibles at arms reach while working is bad, so I put them in another room.
3. Be True to Yourself
Not everyone is honest with themselves. Many will try to convince themselves they don’t have problems or that exercise and health measures will be pointless. This creates a self-defeatist attitude and ensures nothing you do will work. Your mindset towards health and fitness will directly impact your ability.
One of my favorite sayings is, “This, above all, to thine own self be true.” You can lie to everyone around you and fool others, but your body knows otherwise. Honesty with yourself is major in everything you do, and health is no different.
For instance, I often tell people I just don’t have time for certain activities. In reality, I have plenty of time that I usually wind up wasting. I know this is a problem and am working on correcting it. The problem is that a lot of my issues are quite habitual now. But at least I know my failing and am taking steps to fix it.
4. Don’t Dwell on Your Ultimate Goal
A problem many people have with better health is trying to achieve their ultimate goal as soon as possible. Instant gratification is a dangerous mindset because it makes you feel like you’re failing.
Take a look at me, for example. I wanted to weigh 180 pounds by Halloween. That’s not going to happen because of my decisions over the past few months. However, I’ve had to tighten my belt and retie by pajama bottoms several times in the last 90 days.
Focus on what you can do today to improve your health and don’t worry about your goal weight. It’s good to know where you want to be, but dwelling on it will only mentally cause issues for you. These will lead to giving up sooner and never achieving your objective.
5. Find a Fitness Friend
Strength in numbers. Many of us feel more comfortable if we have friends with similar interests. They can be vastly important for helping you stay motivated and committed. Fitness friends can stir something up inside you to do more than you’d like and maintain exercise routines or eating habits.
For fitness friends to be beneficial, you need to add the social element. I have a ton of “friends” on Fitbit, but I don’t really interact with more than maybe one or two of them. This takes away from the purpose of having personal connections. It also means I don’t have as strong of a support group as I would like.
Find a friend who is willing to go to the gym with you or get involved with regular group activities. I am going to Anytime Fitness on Saturdays with my friend while looking for some kind of sports league to join. You need to keep yourself active, and having a social connection in those activities helps keeps you focused on better health.
6. Form a Better Relationship with Yourself
As corny as it may sound, your relationship with yourself is pivotal for health. Self-respect reinforces a lot of decisions you make throughout the day especially when it comes to your fitness.
You’ve probably heard the saying, “My body is a temple.” Well, my body is an amusement park. But still, a clean amusement park with properly running rides is far more successful. Besides, I bet more people would rather sit on a comfortable thrilling ride than a wooden temple pew.
Before you put anything into your mouth, ask yourself, “How is this going to impact my day.” Don’t try to talk yourself into eating something you know you can’t afford. The relationship with yourself should be your main priority above all else. Because without you, you wouldn’t exist.
7. Create an Instance of Accountability
One reason why a lot of people will fail at better health is because of a lack of accountability. Think about it, you have no one to answer to except yourself when it comes to health. Finding something that makes you accountable reinforces motivation and effort. The problem is finding something that will keep you focused.
Personal bets with friends helps sometimes. But if there isn’t a tangible asset outside of bragging rights, it’s easy to become a slacker. This is the most difficult thing to set up. I mean, how do you set up accountability for your own health and fitness?
For me, I am going to start YouTube videos again. If I have people watching me, I know I will feel self-conscious and will be more motivated to maintain better health. The fear of looking like a fool in front of viewers is one hell of a motivator.
Better Health Isn’t Going to Just Happen
It takes a great deal of effort and being loyal to yourself to maintain better health. Never assume that your efforts are wasted. Health and fitness isn’t going to offer instant gratification. Even the days when you feel like a failure can still end in success as long as you learn something.